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Stale Moldy Old Email
To Process or Not to Process?

 4:24 am on Nov 18, 2002 (gmt 0)

Seems like most of my web process works around big projects several times a year. When the projects come and go, I end up with huge email blizzards. One week I'll get 500 emails and two hundred need responding too. Then the next week will only be 100.

Sometimes it just builds up and there is never enough time to respond. It gets so bad that email backs up with several month old email in the inbox.

I do read all inbound email and mark it with a priority, so I don't miss the must do now, or game over emails.

What do you do? Close your eyes and hold delete and pray? Or try to forsake all life outside the net and reply?



 4:39 am on Nov 18, 2002 (gmt 0)

If I've gone over a month without replying and the person hasn't emailed me asking why I haven't responded, it's a gonner. That's my rule.

I also have a "pre-delete folder" to hold emails for one additional month in case I need to reference them.


 4:51 am on Nov 18, 2002 (gmt 0)

Hire an assistant?

lawman (will work for food)


 5:07 am on Nov 18, 2002 (gmt 0)

What I try to do is open all mail on the day it arives, then place each item into 4 different folder. reply required urgent, reply required, Feedback, junk.

Usualy I dont read much into the junk.

feedback: I store so I can look through it in more detail when I have the time.

Reply required: I have a set of pre-made emails that cover some common issues. If possible I will use one of these as a reply. If I get a new question I may save the reply as a template.

Reply urgent: I try to reply to these as soon as they arrive.


 8:57 am on Nov 18, 2002 (gmt 0)

I use a technique I was taught at a time management course years ago.

Every thing falls into one of 4 categories

A: 'Urgent' and 'High Importance'
B: 'Urgent' and 'Normal Importance'
C: 'Not so Urgent' and High Importance'
D: 'Not so Urgent' and Normal Importance'

Everyday things get re-categorised depending on recent events (often, 'who screams loudest')

'A's get done
'B's get done if all the 'A's are done
'C's get done if all the 'B's are done
'D's get ignored.

Works for me, and 'yes' lots of e-mails get ignored simply becasue they started life as a 'D' and never rose from that position.

lawman (will work for food)

Don't fall for it Brett, he'a laywer, make him specifiy 'which food' and 'how much' and get it in writing.


 9:26 am on Nov 18, 2002 (gmt 0)

I've been a fan of [b]Nelson Email Organizer[b] since I started using it. The benefit I find with the program is that I can keep my e-mails in whatever folder I want. My process is to mark incoming "To Do" emails with a Priority of Low, Normal, or High. As finish the task, I remove the To Do and its off my list. What's nice about Nelson is that I can also view my messages by Date, Correspodent (my favorite), Attachments, and a few other views. All messages are indexed so brute search are very quick as well.

If you use MS Outlook (not Express), as your e-mail client you really owe it to yourself to check this one out. You get a 30 day trial. I actually registered this one after my trial - I consider it the most useful software purchase I've made.


 2:48 pm on Nov 18, 2002 (gmt 0)

I second the Nelson recommendation. The search features are outstanding. And it can group all e-mail by correspondent. So, you could see at a glance all e-mail both sent and recieved from a particular person.

doesn't solve the problem of whether or not to reply to those old -emails, though ;)


 2:52 pm on Nov 18, 2002 (gmt 0)

'lawman' is an oshifer* of the law, not a lawyer...

"Honest oshifer, I aint had anything ta drink"

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